Martin Luther King Day

Martin Luther King was feared for promoting peaceful protest. To honour the legacy of the civil rights leader born 90 years ago, we selected a set of reads which address the political advancement since the days of the late advocate of non-violent political resistance.

1968, the year of Martin Luther King’s assassination, means different things to different people. Though there is a version of ‘1968’ tied to the student and worker protests in France, Sidney Tarrow argues that it had a greater long-term impact in Italy and the United states.

Postcolonial theorist Achille Mbembe argues that digital computation is engendering a new common world and new configurations of reality and power. But this ubiquitous, instantaneous world is confronted by the old world of bodies and distances. Technology is mobilized in order to create an omnipresent border that sequesters those with rights from those without them.
After moving from Johannesburg (Jo’burg) to Gothenburg (Go’burg), filmmaker Jyoti Mistry struck up a friendship with someone who went the other way: Katarina Hedrén, who was adopted by a white Swedish family, and moved to South Africa as an adult. This deeply personal take on race shows how ‘colour-blindness’ denies that racial prejudice exists but robs people of colour of words to talk about the discrimination they face.

Julien Talpin comments on the disappointments of the Obama era and asks about the path towards social justice. One promising way forward for the campaign against the criminalization of black people across the United States is to build new coalitions between Black Lives Matter and older traditions of community organizing, he argues.

‘What is postcolonial thinking?’: An interview with Achille Mbembe

In an interview with French journal Esprit, postcolonial theorist Achille Mbembe explains the meaning of that variety of critical perspectives we call postcolonial thinking. These approaches to the faults in Europe’s universalism, especially when confronting its colonial history, looks so original, he says, because they developed in a transnational, eclectic vein from the very start, enabling a two-pronged approach combining anti-imperialism with emerging forms of subaltern studies and the critique of globalization.

Progressive parties must bundle ecology, anti-authoritarianism and multiculturalism into a political project ‘beyond right and left’, argues Claus Leggewie. Resistance now means social and ecological campaigning against the dominant powers and ideas of industrial modernity. The right is called upon to take part in this new politics of concordance.

Published 29 January 2019
Original in English
First published by Eurozine

© Eurozine

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